“Too Much Magic” With James Howard Kunstler

“Too Much Magic” With James Howard Kunstler | The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 07

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Social critic and peak oil provocateur James Howard Kunstler is on The DisinfoCast to discuss his upcoming book Too Much Magic: Technology, Wishful Thinking and the Fate of the Nation. Kunstler believes that the end of cheap, readily available oil is very near, and with it the collapse of the industrial society as we know it. According to Kunstler, alternative energy sources and other technological solutions are just wishful thinking, and the future that awaits us may very well resemble our past.

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  • Bungle

    oil is mostly for locomotion now. if anything, other sources are cheaper and the monopoly of the oil companies as an energy source is whats causing the problem and delaying the progress. sun, win, wave, thermal are way more available than limited, had to refine,  “taxable” oil, that due to its complicated extraction process is easy to control by the big dogs who have all the engineering power and who want all the energy profits. this dood is too negative, and while i like alternative theories, he is ignoring simple facts informed people know. I am excited about the future of the energy industry and its growth. But big oil is going down for sure, but it wont send us to the dark ages, it will just change the way our car engines sound, but thats ok, electric motors are just as fast and have better acceleration, and we can replicate the roaring engine sound with speakers if we miss it.

    • Bungle

      The statement that oil is cheap and readily available is a blatant lie or misconception. If it were cheap and available we would not need to fight wars over it. The truth is that it is a very limited and controlled product and frankly outdated technology being peddled as an ideal source. The sooner these oil companies start shifting their business model and product, the greater the change they will survive the shift. 

    • Guest

      Mostly for locomotion? You may want to check your assumptions. Oil produces everything these days, especially food. Once cheap oil is gone, so are we (civilization declines, rapidly).

      • Bungle

        i also said its a monopoly. go be negative somewhere else troll, and check yourself. petroleum based products is one thing, using it to blow up inside an internal combustion engine is another. If oil produced everything these days, it would be way more expensive. i say hydro electric, nuclear and coal produce everything and thats the truth.  speak for yourself, im not in decline and civilization is on the rise, the industrial age is in decline and the over the top consumerism that came with it. oil was a necessary evil used to build infrastructure and make scientific discoveries and now thats been done, its time to move on to a more artistic age. do be so fucking negative and dont assume you know everything either, just because you hear from main stream sources, that oil is gone and the world is going to end with it. if your food is made out of petroleum you are not doing it right, farm equipment uses it but they have been grandfathered in  and can be converted.  this sort of “omg we are done for” mania, happened not a long time ago with slavery, and we are doing ok without it. so stop being a slave to oil and free yourself starting with your mind. If we are going to die rapidly as a collective, its going to be from getting hit by a space rock the size of texas, shaped like texas. there is energy all around and oil was an example of one source, but thanks to oil we have discovered new things. i celebrate oil  but i welcome its demise and i am not scared about living without it.  This site has been too negative lately, looking like fox news. go look for some good news.

        • EVHappy

          Bungle, the other poster is no troll. He is correct. Oil is used in thousands of products including insecticides, lubricants, plastics, etc.

          People forget that for every calorie of food that gets to your table, ten fossil fuel calories need to be consumed. That is just not sustainable for the long term.

          All the alternatives you mentioned are far more costly, have lower EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested), and are far less scalable. If you don’t agree, you can just start up an alternative energy company and put your energy on the market. Truth be told, oil is still far cheaper.

          When oil gets more expensive, and it will, the energy gap provided by other methods will not be high enough to maintain, yet alone build, the infrastructure our global economy was built on. If you don’t understand about energy gap just realize that the average American has 33 energy slaves working hard for them. As the energy gap goes down, it takes more and more of those energy slaves to just get the food needed for them to survive. You still may have 33 energy slaves but instead of just 1 working to get the needed food, you now need 10 or more. The net end result is less slaves working for you.

          We still do no know what the steady state cost of fracked NG will be. The current low cost is due to over drilling. The low market price is not high enough for the energy companies to produce the fuel and they must then stop further drilling. A balanced price will be achieved, and it will end up higher than before because the fracking process has a lower energy gap due to the need for fracking fluids, extensive drilling, quick depletion, etc. This will become apparent in the coming years. 

          If you want a better world view of the energy industry head over to The Oil Drum and listen to people who work in the industry and really understand the details.

          Remember, just because you don’t agree with a poster doesn’t mean they are a troll. 

  • Guest

    Im a fan of the disinfo cast,  The new host seems like he’s worth checking out.  HOWEVER- the audio quality is terrible.  Please get a sound engineer, or a intern that knows how to mix a sound show.  Your last two episodes were unlistenable.  the content is fine- just fix the audio issues- like uneven volumes from the interviewer and the guest,  sound drop outs, ect

    • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

      Edit: The introduction is too loud. I agree. Regarding the conversation, I think unlistenable might be a bit of an exaggeration.
      In any case, I’m doing my best here, but I’m still learning and I’ve got some outdated equipment. Sorry you’re having trouble with the sound. I’ll try to improve as best as I can.Thanks for the heads up.

      • markoff

         A simple normalization in any good audio editor will help on the conversation levels. If you can use SoundForge, there is a tool called WaveHammer that will really even the levels out very easily

        • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

          Thanks, markoff! Consider it done. 

  • Bungle

    there is not enough magic, bitches. this site has been too negative and narrow minded, im going to stop reading it and move on to greener pastures. this site should be about magick but its only another over glorified news routing site. buy their books and dvds people they are truly good, and maybe the disinfo crew will drop the real info to you. im out, suck it trolls!!!! ill be back when i see some change, for now im just interested in the disinfo publishing company and not this lame news forum.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do

      This news forum has plenty of magickal-spiritual articles. Just look for them, or post some of your own. Unfortuantely they are far and few between these days and we’re more exposed to the bullshit three-ring cirus sideshow some members like to dwell on. The hosts of the Disinfocast were pretty good before this Matt Staggs infiltrator, check em out.

      • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

        I’M IN YOUR DISINFO INFILTRATIN UR MAGICK

    • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

      Bungle, I’m guessing that you will have moved on by the time you read this, but you may be interested in one of my upcoming guests. He’s an entertainer and practitioner of magick. You’ll like him. 

      • Monkey See Monkey Do

        Sounds good. I’ll check it out.

        • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

           Hey man, I appreciate you sticking around. I’ve actually got a huge interest in the magickal tradition. We’re just getting started.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            I was never going anywhere. I checked out epsiode 4 about the mothman prophecies, it was very interesting. Glad to hear about your next guest.

          • http://twitter.com/mattstaggs Matt Staggs

             The guy I interviewed for that one is kind of an anarchic prankster. He told me that he’s placing sound chips from greeting cards inside the Bibles he finds in hotel rooms. When the next guest opens the Bible it hoots like a monkey, moos like a cow, whatever. Totally interesting dude.

          • Monkey See Monkey Do

            Was thinking about a different podcast host with regards to my previous post.

  • Unsympathetic Reality

    Bungle is an idiot. Absolutely out of touch with the real world, and is quite happily going to look for some feel good propaganda to get his rocks off. Pathetic.

    • http://twitter.com/alizardx A.Lizard

      I once spent an hour on Kunstler’s site looking for ANY evidence that he knew anything useful about ANY alternative energy technology. There wasn’t any. He knows no more about greentech than Ann Romney does or you do. Just another innumerate jackass, no more worth listening to than a Creationist on biology. Why is he so heavily promoted by the 1% instead of getting treated as a crackpot? Interesting question for people smarter than you are.

      From a technological standpoint, the problems are solvable. The interesting ones are difficult, but interesting problems always are. 

      As for what I know about technology, I’m filing my second patent in the last 12 months Real Soon Now, WTF do YOU know about innovation? Are you a former liberal arts major?

      The problem is POLITICAL, will the billionaire class allow money to be used to solve the problems of survival of a technological civilization? Or would they rather be part of the dieoff following Kunstler’s recommended path will get all of us?

      The Kunstler “nothing can be done” shit ONLY serves the short term interests of Big Coal and Big Oil. As to whether he and you are “useful idiots” or paid shills, I simply do not give a fuck.

      • subgenius

        lol u have maybe as much idea as de Garis (who was a dick when I crossed paths with him in the mid/late 90s)

        Tech is teh fail! read some dothemath blog and get a fucking clue

      • Justmynipples

         would you please explain “From a technological standpoint, the problems are solvable” ?

  • Person

    I liked the interview, the suggestions regarding sound I agree with.  And, I thank Matt and those involved for bringing it to me for free.   While I don’t agree with the guest on everything he is saying, I do agree on many things he talks about.  Mainly, producing your own food, doing for yourself with manual tools.  Manual tools will go up in value drastically, even antique tools people find amusing will become of value again.  I have planted my fruit trees, just finished up a long project building a garden.  Raise chickens and have horses.

    If it all goes tits up tomorrow I”m not completely SOL but not in a great position either, so that goes along with what he’s saying, it won’t be pretty and we will do with less but if you have done some work ahead of time you will be better off.   And, if nothing ever happens I haven’t lost anything for my investment, I still reap the rewards of what I have created.     My biggest problem will be water, even though we are on a well I’ll need some way to get it out of the ground without the use of electricity, petrol or other.  I live in So. Cal.  The aqueduct goes right by my house and a constant reminder of what the value of water is.  If things don’t pan out we’ll have to head to greener pastures.

  • j b

    I suggest that you read another book called TOO MUCH MAGIC that came out a year before Kunstler’s book. It is called “TOO MUCH MAGIC: Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech by Jason Benlevi.”

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